Phans Need To Savor the Philadelphia Phillies

August 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Fan News

The window of opportunity doesn’t stay open for very long in Major League Baseball. This is why Phillies fans need to enjoy this run while it lasts.

I was fortunate enough to be at game six of the 1980 World Series, as a naive 12-year-old, and I honestly thought that it was going to be like that every year.

Playoffs, World Series championships, victory parades, and taking a day off from school to go to a game or a parade—never did I imagine that it would be 27 years before the city would get to enjoy that feeling again.

The Phillies finished first in the East from 1976 to 1978, losing in the first round all three years, to the Reds in ’76, and twice to the Dodgers. Attendance averaged about 2.6 million over those years. Then came 1979 and a fourth place finish in the East, but amazingly, had an attendance of 2,775,011, the highest total until 1993.

Yes, the Phillies averaged more than 2000 more a game in 1979 as a fourth place team than in the first World Championship year in 1980.

What makes this current run so interesting is all the similarities to quality teams the Phillies fielded from 1976 to 1983.

Home Grown Talent

Mike Schmidt, Larry Bowa, Lonnie Smith, and Bob Boone all came up through the Phillies farm system, as well as pitchers Larry Christenson and Dick Ruthven. This was also true in the ’93 season, with Mickey Morandini, Kevin Stocker, and Tyler Green.

Today we have Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Cole Hamels, and now Domonic Brown as the core and future of the team.

Most successful teams have a strong farm system, and have the ability to make wise moves to fill in the missing pieces. Even General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is somewhat of a home grown product.

His father Ruben Sr. was first base coach on the 1980 team, and Ruben Jr. started out as a bat boy before eventually going to Stanford and getting drafted by the California Angels. The level of homegrown talent cannot be overlooked, with Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player trophies on the shelf.

Sticking Around

Ryan Howard is locked up through 2016 with an option for 2017, Roy Halliday is signed through 2013 with a 2014 option, and Utley is with the club until at least 2013. But the core of the team has been with Philadelphia for their entire careers, which is a testament to the ball club and to the city of Philadelphia itself.

People stay here because its a great team to play for and its a great city, simple as that. When Pete Rose came to the Phillies in 1979, he was coming to a proven winner, and he fell in love with the city. It didn’t hurt that he was best friends with Larry Bowa.

Filling in the Pieces

While the 1980 Phillies added Pete Rose in ’79 and the ’93 Phillies added Curt Schilling in 1992, those moves were nothing compared to what has happened in the front office over the past few years.

Cliff Lee comes and then is not re-signed, Pedro Martinez is signed and shows flashes of his old self, then disappears and is not on a roster in 2010. Roy Halliday is signed with an extension and Roy Oswalt is brought in, but one of the moves that made a difference was picking up Placido Polanco.

I had the opportunity to watch him every night when he was with the Tigers, and he was total money at second base, and maybe the second clutch hitter on the team behind Miguel Cabrera.

The message to today’s fans is to enjoy this prosperity while it lasts. I went from being a 12-year-old who thought that celebrations would be a yearly occurrence, to a guy in his 30s sitting in the Philadium asking himself if the Phillies will ever be good again. Well, the Phillies are good again, actually, they are really, really good.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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